Your Ultimate Guide to October: 20 Notable Events Happening in Southern California

We found a number of notable happenings in October, so we’re ready to help you plan your social calendar. Read on for all our event picks and details.

Oct. 4-7

SHRIEKFEST FILM FESTIVAL (Film)
The 18th annual Shriekfest Film Festival is a horror/fantasy/sci-fi film festival and screenplay competition that runs Oct. 4-7 at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Up-and-coming screenwriters and filmmakers screen their short films and features. The opening night party is at Bar Sinister/Boardners on Oct. 4 from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Party entry: $10 (includes buffet food, red carpet, tunes by DJ Pervula and a ticket to any festival screening). Tickets: $10 per screening or passes are $75-$120.

Oct. 5-7

AVOCADO FESTIVAL (Family fun)
The California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria is one of largest family-friendly, free festivals in the country, and is expected to attract more than 100,000 people. Now in its 32nd year, the festival celebrated the fruit even before avocado toast was a thing! Held from Oct. 5-7, the festival features more than 75 musical acts on four stages as well as an AvoEXPO TENT that tells the story of the avocado through agricultural and historical photos, lessons in grafting, restored antique tractors and the Largest Avocado Contest. Admission is free.

Oct. 6-7

SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR (Music)

Your Ultimate Guide to October: 20 Notable Events Happening in Southern California
Soweto Gospel Choir. Credit Lorenzo Di Nozzi.

The Soweto Gospel Choir is on a 50-city US tour in support of its latest album, Freedom, a collection of freedom songs from South Africa and beyond that honors the centennial of Nelson Mandela’s birth. The choir plays the Barclay Theater in Irvine at 8:00 p.m. on Oct. 6 and the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts at Cal State Northridge at 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 7. icket prices run $30-$100.

Oct. 7

COAST (Open streets)
The city of Santa Monica holds its open streets event—in which streets are closed to cars and open to bikers, skaters, walkers, joggers and other forms of non-motorized transport. Like CicLAvia, two miles of SaMo streets will be closed off on Sunday, Oct. 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. At this free event, the public can also experience interactive art exhibits, live performances and enjoy offerings from local food and business purveyors. The Coast route runs on Ocean Avenue from Wilshire Boulevard to Tongva Park, as well as Main Street to Marine Street. Visitors are encouraged to take pubic or non-motorized transportation—including the Expo Line and the Big Blue Bus. Free.

Oct. 11-21

LOS ANGELES EXCHANGE [LAX] FESTIVAL (Performing arts fest)
The LAX Festival runs from Oct. 11-21 in several venues near Downtown LA, featuring contemporary performances by local artists as well as other artists, curators and organizations from Philadelphia. The festival opens with a Queer Slow Jam Party at Think Tank Gallery with jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham and DJ Erika Kayne. Ticket prices vary for the festival performances, $20 for the opening night party.

Oct. 13-14

BREWERY ARTWALK (Arts)
The Brewery Art Complex in DTLA presents the fall edition of the Artwalk on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13 and 14, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The twice annual open studio weekend is held at the site of the former Pabst plant, and features dozens and dozens of artist studios opening their doors to the public for the event. In addition, enjoy a variety of food trucks and a beer garden/restaurant operated by Barbara’s at the Brewery. Admission and parking are free.

Oct. 13-14

DAVID LYNCH’S FESTIVAL OF DISRUPTION (Film + music + talks)

For the fourth consecutive year, filmmaker and artist David Lynch brings his Festival of Disruption back to L.A. Held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, the festival includes music, art, film and discussions from some of Lynch’s favorite artists, all in the name of expanding consciousness through creativity. Sessions include a live score from RZA (Live From the 36th Chamber); and music sets by Mercury Rev, TOKiMONSTA and others. The talks and screenings feature a David Lynch Q&A with Coffee and Donuts, Ford Coppola and Jack, Grace Jones and Bloodlight and Bami, Carrie Brownstein, Barry Gifford and Wild At Heart and Amber Tamblyn reading Dark Sparkler. Proceeds from the festival raise funds and awareness for The David Lynch Foundation, which focuses on eliminating post-traumatic stress through Transcendental Meditation. New ticketing tiers start at $55.

Oct. 13

TASTE OF ITALY 2018 (Food)
The Taste of Italy 2018 is an annual benefit for the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles taking place on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 5:00-10:00 p.m. The 10th annual event takes place outdoors under the stars at the historic Pico House and The Plaza in Downtown L.A. The event features dozens of the region’s best restaurants, including Prova and Valentino, Italian products, wines and live entertainment. This year’s focus is on the region of Puglia. Adult tickets: $60-$125; children 5-12: $25. VIP package available.

Oct. 13-14

SILVERADO COUNTRY FAIR AND FOLK FESTIVAL (Family fest)
Explore the history of Silverado Canyon in Orange County on Oct. 13 and 14 at the Silverado Country Fair and Folk Festival. The town of fewer than 1,500 residents was once inhabited by the Acjachemen (Juaneno) Native American Tribe and was at the heart of a silver boom in the 1800s. Immerse yourself in the Old West’s rustic culture, listen to live music, indulge in tasty food, and shop handmade arts and crafts. There are period activities from the 1800s and a Steampunk costume contest, too. Wide-ranging performances include folklorico dancers, to Cubensis, a Grateful Dead tribute band. Adult admission: $6; kids 4-12 only $3; ages 3 and younger get free admission.

Oct. 18-21

FRONT PORCH CINEMA (Film)
This film series screens films on the Santa Monica Pier (aka California’s “front porch”) from Oct. 18-21. Watch films under the stars and next to the sea as the series presents four family-friendly films: Grease (Oct. 18), Clueless (Oct. 19), The Addams Family (Oct. 20) and Coco (Oct. 21). Food trucks and other vendors will be on hand to sell concessions and tasty treats. Chairs, blankets and other picnic essentials are welcome. Free, reservations are recommended. Doors at 6:00 p.m., and each screening begins at 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 17-Nov. 25

DEAR EVAN HANSEN (Musical)

Your Ultimate Guide to October: 20 Notable Events Happening in Southern California
Courtesy of the Center Theatre Group

The Center Theatre Group presents the six-time, Tony-winning best musical Dear Evan Hansen at the Ahmanson Theatre from Oct. 17 through Nov. 25. Ben Levi Ross plays Evan Hansen, a high school senior with severe social anxiety. A lie he tells gives him a chance to connect with people and finally fit in. Single tickets for the musical begin at $99.

Oct. 19-March 10, 2019

NOTORIOUS RBG: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF RUTH BADER GINSBURG (Exhibition)
The Skirball Cultural Center opens its latest exhibition, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on Oct. 19. Based upon the popular Tumblr website and book of the same name, the exhibition focuses on the life and work of the “Supreme Court Justice–turned–cultural icon.” Through photos, documents (including legal briefs), contemporary art and interactive works, the exhibition presents the American legal system through RBG’s personal experiences. General admission to the Skirball runs $7-$12; the center is free to the public on Thursdays.

Oct. 19-21

LOS ANGELES TIMES: THE TASTE (Food fest)
For the first time ever, The Los Angeles Times’ The Taste travels to Costa Mesa from Friday, Oct. 19 to Sunday, Oct. 21, for a weekend of food, wine, spirits and chef demos and workshops. Taking place at The Met, tickets are all-inclusive of food, beer, wine & spirits tastings, plus all stage activities. Tickets: $85-$130. Please note that The Taste is an ages 21+ event.

Oct. 26-28

LA COMIC CON (Expo)
LA Comic Con has undergone several name changes throughout the years, first launching as Comikaze Expo, then Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo and then Stan Lee’s LA Comic Con. But now, it’s just LA Comic Con, running at the LA Convention Center from Oct. 26-28, featuring screenings, signings, guest appearances and collectible vendors for fans of comics, sci-fi, anime, horror, gaming and pop culture in general. Guests include Danny Trejo, Ryan Hurst, Robbie Amell, Brett Dalton, Ariela Barrer, Mallory Jones and Annie Wersching, among many others. Also happening at LA Comic Con: Fangoria, the iconic horror magazine returns to publishing this month. Several of the con’s panels will be tied to Fangoria’s, editorial in its return issue. Tickets/passes: $25-$569.

Oct. 26-28

DANNY ELFMAN: HALLOWEEN – THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Music + film)

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and composer Danny Elfman brings the film back to the Hollywood Bowl stage for three nights from Oct. 26-28, accompanied by a live soundtrack. He’ll be performing his role of Jack Skellington, singing live to film with other guest artists including including Catherine O’Hara (Sally) and Ken Page (Oogie Boogie) from the original cast. Tickets start at $37.

Oct. 27

Village Venture Arts & Crafts Faire 2018 (Festival)
The 37th Annual Village Venture Arts and Crafts Faire in Claremont Village takes place on Oct 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with more than 400+ booths featuring art, hand-crafted items and apparel. And don’t forget to browse and shop the local businesses and nonprofits along First Street, too. The day starts off with a children’s Halloween costume parade in the streets at 10:00 a.m. Free admission.

Oct. 27 and 31

Vampyr (Film + opera)
The LA Opera’s Off Grand series presents its annual mashup of opera and monster movies on the big screen at the Theater at Ace Hotel for two nights on Oct. 27 and Oct. 31 (both at 8:00 p.m.). This year, LA Opera screens filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer’s surreal 1932 classic Vampyr. Tickets to the Saturday night screening includes admission to the Ace’s annual Halloween party, while the Wednesday screening includes admission to the LA Opera’s after-party. Tickets start at $19.

Oct. 27

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS – DAY OF THE DEAD (Celebration)

Your Ultimate Guide to October: 20 Notable Events Happening in Southern California
Hollywood Forever/Facebook

LA’s most well-known Dia de los Muertos celebration returns for its 19th annual edition at Hollywood Forever cemetery, from noon to midnight on Oct. 27. This year, the day is dedicated to Coatlicue (/kwɑːtˈliːkweɪ/), the Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars and sun. In addition to altars, costumes and cultural traditions that honor ancestors, there’s live music and performances by dozens of artists throughout the day and night including Panteón Rococó, Mexican Institute of Sound, Hello Seahorse!, Y La Bamba and Loli Molina. Tickets are $25. Children 8 years and younger and seniors 65 and older get in for free until 4:00 p.m. VIP passes are also available: $150-$300.

Oct. 31

HALLOWEEN ORGAN & FILM: NOSFERATU (Film)
Watch the 1922 German Expressionist classic horror film Nosferatu by F. W. Murnau, accompanied by a live organ on Halloween at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Unofficially adapted from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the vampire Count Orlok has nefarious intentions toward a real estate agent’s wife. Tickets are $33-$63.

Oct. 31

WEST HOLLYWOOD HALLOWEEN CARNAVAL
Carnaval is a renowned West Hollywood tradition—a street party/costume contest that that takes place on Santa Monica Boulevard, between North Doheny Drive and La Cienega Boulevard from 6-10:30 p.m. on Halloween. Admission is free and no tickets are required, and parties take place at establishments along the boulevard, but no alcohol is allowed to be sold or consumed on the streets. There’s a penchant for risqué costumes and the crowds are always large, so organizers recommend leaving the kids and pets at home.


Christine N. Ziemba is a Los Angeles-based arts and culture writer who loves to tell people what to do (and where to go). Check out her events columns and other musings on PopRadarLA.com, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.